You would think that putting a collar on a dog would be an easy task. Just fasten the collar around their neck, right? Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. Your dog may be too excitable to sit still long enough for you to put the collar on correctly, or they may react negatively to the collar if it’s a new experience for them.
If you’re having a difficult time putting a collar on your dog, don’t worry — we’re here to help! Read our guide on how to put a collar on a dog the right way so you can safely hit the pavement (or trail) in style.
Step One: Choose the Right Collar
The first step to putting a collar on your four-legged friend is to pick out a functional yet cute dog collar that you and your pet will love. As with dog leashes, there are many types of dog collars to choose from, and not all of them are created equal.
If you’re struggling to put a collar on your pooch, we recommend choosing a flat dog collar with a side-release snap buckle. This type of collar is ideal because it’s quicker and easier to take on and off compared to other dog collar styles. It’s also one of the safest types of collars for your pet.
Stay away from prong collars, choke chains and other collars that inflict pain to discourage a specific behavior. These negative reinforcement tools will only make your dog fearful of their collar, which is the last thing you want.
How to Put a Collar on a Dog
It’s no doubt frustrating to see other dogs sitting calmly while their owners attach their collars with minimal fuss and fanfare. But take heart — your pup will get there, too! The key is to help your dog foster a positive association with his collar. Check out our tips below to help your pup learn to accept his collar, and don’t forget to pick up blank dog tags for your pet to create a personalized name tag for your furry friend!
- Air out the collar. A dog’s sense of smell is 10,000-100,000 times stronger than that of the average human, scientists say. If you can detect the lingering smell of pet store coming from your dog’s brand-new collar, imagine how bad it must smell to your dog. Give the collar a chance to air out so your dog will accept it faster. Better yet, rub your clothes on it so the collar smells like their favorite thing ever — you!
- Start with a slow introduction. Unbuckle the collar and place it flat on the ground so your dog can investigate. When your dog approaches or touches the collar, mark the moment with a “yes!” and a treat. Do this several times before moving on to the next step. If your dog is reluctant to go near the collar, place a few treats leading up to it.
- Continue desensitizing your dog to the collar. Pick up the collar and hold it near your dog. Wait for your dog to come up to you and touch the collar in this new position before treating them once again. But don’t put the collar on yet! Take things slow, especially if you have a fearful dog.
- Bust out the high-value treats. Find the smelliest dog treats you can (aka high-value dog treats) and use them to lure your dog’s head through the collar. (Tip: This step works best with two people. Have one person hold the collar up and another lure the dog with treats.) Keep delaying the treats until your dog puts his head through without them.
- Teach your dog to be calm. Trying to put a collar on an excitable dog? Try playing with your pooch indoors to help them burn off some excess energy. When they’re good and tired, put the collar on and reward them with a treat for their calm behavior.
If your pup had any say in the matter, they would probably walk around “naked” all the time. But thankfully, the call isn’t theirs to make — it’s yours. Every dog needs something on which to hang their cute dog leash and identification tags, and a comfortable dog collar fits the bill. With these tips, you can get your dog to happily wear anything, whether it’s a cool dog harness, a t-shirt or a cozy dog hoodie.
Looking for more stylish dog accessories to help your pup strut their stuff? Discover a wide selection of cute dog leashes, collars, harnesses and more at Beast & Buckle today.